Jizou (地蔵), originally Ksitigarbha, is a bodhisattva revered in Buddhism with the appearance of a Buddhist monk. In Japan, he is seen as bodhisattva of the dead, guardian of children and patron deity of deceased young. He is also a guardian of travelers. Statues of him are commonly seen roadside or in cemeteries. These statues may be dressed in bibs and hankerchiefs or have childrens' toys such as pinwheels placed with them by visitors praying for their children. They are also prayed to by those wishing for safe travel.
Jizou in Touhou
In Oriental Sacred Place, Marisa Kirisame picked up a jizou from the side of a road and brought it to the Hakurei Shrine. Reimu Hakurei tells her it can't help her with her desire for long life, better fortune and business, things Byakuren Hijiri said they are useful for, due to no god being inside (yet). They leave it beside the Three Fairies' tree behind the shrine, which the Fairies believe is a marker placed there to signal treasure.
Before long, Komachi Onozuka comes looking for it. She confronts Reimu and Marisa and says it is useless where it is. Marisa is convinced to retrive it after being told retribution from Hell may come to Marisa. As Marisa approaches the jizou, she falls into a hole turned hidden trap the Fairies dug to the find the treasure, receiving her retribution.
In the course of the story, Komachi notes Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu was originally a jizou who gained enough faith to eventually become Yama. According to Hieda no Akyuu, almost all Yama were formerly old jizou.
Narumi Yatadera, a jizou statue in the Forest of Magic, became sentient from the forest's magic powers. The exact date is unknown, but Marisa Kirisame's familiarity with her means it was a significant amount of time before Hidden Star in Four Seasons.